Myrrh Records, 2000

REVIEW BY: Michael Ehret


This is a great record! One of the 10 best of the year. Go buy it -- you won't regret it. I can't be any plainer than that.

Salvador is a five man, Latin-music influenced and infused, band that is making the kind of music Burlap to Cashmere tried to make before going belly up in the over-hyped Land of the Big Ego. Oh, I suppose there was more going on than that and B2C was as much a victim of other people's high expectations as of anything else, but Salvador is way ahead, both musically and lyrically, of Is Anybody Out There?

Nick Gonzalez -- a truly unique voice -- fronts Salvador. He is ably assisted by Josh Gonzalez on bass, Art Gonzalez on drums, Eliot Torres, percussion, and Adrian Lopez, keyboards. In addition, Sam Levine, Barry Green, Mike Haynes, and Steve Patrick provide the brass that makes it all work like magic. Producers Monroe Jones and Dan Posthuma brought it all together.

I was fortunate to see Salvador recently in concert with Third Day and Kendall Payne at the Elco Theater in Elkhart, a tiny town in northern Indiana. Salvador is an ideal opening act for Third Day because they have a strong worship quotient in their music as well. Gonzalez and company set the worship tone that Third Day, led by worship leader Mac Powell, came out and built on. While my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Salvador is not a worship album in the same way Third Day's Offerings is a worship album, the group's intent and reason for existence is to bring praise to God -- which they do.

Salvador has 11 outstanding songs that move from celebratory praise to introspective worship - and back again with ease. There is not a weak song on the disc. If the songs "Lord I Come Before You" and "David Danced" don't get your heart pumping, physically and spiritually, then you are already dead. But, the beautiful ballad "Crucified" shows that the band can take it down a notch without losing the intensity.

Written by David Mullen and Pete Kipley, "Crucified" talks about being unashamed of Christ and his crucifixion:

Here in this moment, I choose to believe To call on the invisible, as if it could be seen Here in this moment, I am unafraid To take part in His suffering, and be called by Jesus' name And I stand unashamed I know I've been crucified with Christ With all my heart, my soul, my might I lift up my hands, lay down my life I'm crucified with Christ

It's all about a dedication to the cause of Christ - to be so committed to pursuing Him that you become willing to suffer in His name.

Salvador includes a fair amount of Spanish language -- but don't let that put you off. The worshipful tone of the music and the emotive singing of Nick Gonzalez communicate everything you need to know.

Two of the Spanish language highlights include the songs "Montana," about having faith the size of a mustard seed and being able to move mountains, and "Alabar Al Senor," co-written with one of CCM's best writers Billy Sprague, which means "Praise the Lord" in Spanish.

Another stunning ballad indicates that the Gaither legacy is far from over. "Cry Holy," penned by Bill Gaither's son Benjy and Marshall Hall, and featuring singers from First Church ECI, of Muncie, Indiana, is the disc's centerpiece.

With fuzzed guitars, some B3 organ, and naked emotion Gonzalez and company call out to God - the God who rescued them from sin:

The sin in my heart has kept me from You But, Father, your grace is greater than sin Your mercy rains down and heals me again And all I can do is fall down on my knees and cry holy

If Salvador can avoid the expectations/ego trap that seemed to tear apart Burlap to Cashmere, they should have a long lasting ministry to their listeners.

Rating: A

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© 2000 Michael Ehret and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Myrrh Records, and is used for informational purposes only.